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Ostrobój 3 – amateur races at the velodrome in Szczecin, PL

A group of local enthusiasts from Szczecin, a town in northern Poland just few kilometres from German border organize the third edition of OSTROBÓJ a series of amateur races on a fabulous open-air velodrome. Participants from Poland and abroad are expected to take part. This year they have official partnership with Polish Cycling Federation which provides professional referees and time measuring system to ensure accurate results. Training session will be held on Friday (July 15th), while the competitions on Saturday and Sunday (July 16th and 17th). More details below.

Registration fee:
Registration by 1th of July -80PLN
Registration by 1st – 15th of July – 90PLN
Registration after 15th of July – 100PLN
1 day pass – 70PLN

Registration form: https://goo.gl/H7EcGT

Schedule:

Friday – 15/07/2016

Training session 17:00-19:00

Saturday – 16/07/2016

  1. 200m flying start – qualifying for the sprint
  2. 400m from standing start
  3. The longest lap
  4. Sprints Final
  5. Elimination race / Australian race

Sunday – 17/07/2016

  1. 1000m individual pursuit
  2. 1000m pair race
  3. 2000m individual pursuit
  4. Points race
  5. 400m from standing start for road bikes
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Tom in Transylvania

Our writer, Tom Owen, headed out to Romania to check out the relatively undiscovered mountain bike trails they have in the mountains of Transylvania.

I didn’t know much about Romania before I went there. I had a few ideas about rolling rural landscapes and Bucharest being perhaps a little too full of drunken English stag parties for my tastes. But I had never been there so see it.

The three-night trip started in Budapest, after a really terrible flight from London Luton with WizzAir. I’d recommend you steer clear of both airport and airline. Then it was a two-hour drive up into the mountains to Fundata, a tiny village totally out of the way, within sight of the mighty Bucegi mountain ridge, which forms part of the Carpathians. After an evening welcome meal and a quick look at some maps of the region it was time to hit the hay.

The first day was set aside for getting used to being on a mountain bike again, after not really hitting any technical trails for a couple of years. That’s not to say it was easy. There is no easy riding in Transylvania as far as I can tell.

Day one takes us into the valley below Fundata and then back up the other side. We spend the day going uphill and down dale – through the tiny villages of rural Romania, complete with horse-drawn carts and aggressive shepherd’s dogs.

We head down a narrow cowpath that gets thicker and thicker with muddy sludge, before hitting the bottom of a long gorge near the town of Zărneşti. It’s a tough old battle to get up the gorge, especially on the full-susp downhill bikes we’re riding, but eventually we hit the summit and the view from the top (and the following descent) are more than worth the struggle.

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On the second day of riding things start to get properly fun. We drive to the foot of another valley, one that leads straight up into the Bucegis. From the very outset it is tough going, the gravel track we are following soon switches to a singletrack path up through the dense pine forests that cover the mountain’s lower half. Before long we are all four of us off the bikes and pushing our machines. As more of a roadie, I’ve always found the pushbike element of MTB quite funny. Why spend all that time shoving your bike uphill when you could be pedalling? Well the truth of it is that pushbike can be as satisfying a part of cycling as slaying a climb on the road. It’s all about effort, anticipation and reward.

After more than an hour of slogging up the side of the mountain we hit the timber line. Suddenly the close alpine confines are gone, replaced with exposed buffeting wind and rain. We have made the summit of the ridge, which we’ll now traverse to reach the ‘start’ of our descent.

Riding across the ridge is phenomenal. Especially dropping in to the singletrack path, with steep declines on either side. It’s really, properly wild up there.

To get to the topmost point of the ridge, from where we will descend we have to pushbike across snow. The incline must be 25% in places, basically a wall we are climbing up, through the snow, carrying 10kg of mountain bike each. It’s ridiculous. But also fun.

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Then finally it’s time for the reward, as the rain starts to intensify we set off down through the rock gardens that make up the ‘path’ back downhill. Going as fast as we dare in an attempt to quickly get back under cover of the pines. It takes ages to get all the way down, we thrash the bikes along precipitous. tree-lined paths, up minor inclines and round the banked turns that seem as though they have been built just for us. The rush is massive, even better than descending a tight, hairpin-filled road descent. I remember just how awesome MTB can be.

All-too soon it’s over. We are back at what passes for ‘ground level’ up here in the high hills. We hop in the car, absolutely obliterated and glad to be going back to a big meal and a warm bed.

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I’ve been riding Crankk gear for almost a year now and in that time I’ve put it through plenty of different challenges – from city riding in London and Buenos Aires, to hilly days in the Ecuadorean Andes – but a weekend of mountain biking in the Transylvanian mountains was definitely a new one. I was stoked with the way the its own on those long bumpy descents.

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Tom Owen is a professional cycling writer. He went to Romania as a guest of Martin Adventures, a travel company specialising in outdoor and adventure trips.

 

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2016 Berlin Rad Race Last Man/Woman Standing recap

On March 19th 2016 Rad Race series inaugurated with a Last Man Standing and Last Woman Standing race during the Berlin Bicycle Week.  128 male riders and 36 female athletes from all over Europe took part and eliminated themselves until only 2 were still standing. We at Crankk are glad to be a part of such an amazing and perfectly organized event.

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Special thanks to the Rad Race team for creating a great atmosphere working in a cold weather environment. Fortunately Crankk/Rad Race PLAKKER hoodies kept them warm. 😉

Last Woman Standing is Francisca Campos (Raw Santafixie Team), Carla Nafria de Miguel (8bar Team) was second and Samantha Moreno (Dosnoventa) finished in third place.

RAD RACE Last Man Standing, Berlin March 19 2016 - Shot by Drew Kaplan 92

Last Man Standing is Augusto Reati (Supernova Bikes), while Stefan Vis (369/Bombtrack Bicycle co.) and Mattia Zoli (Supernova Factory Racing) came in second and third.

RAD RACE Last Man Standing, Berlin March 19 2016 - Shot by Drew Kaplan 93

Congratulations to all participants and winners!

Here are some images from race action.

RAD RACE Last Man Standing, Berlin March 19 2016 - Shot by Bjo╠łrn Lexius 82

 

RAD RACE Last Man Standing, Berlin March 19 2016 - Shot by Drew Kaplan 91

 


Check out Rad Race website for more pics and information about the 2016 Berlin Last Man/Woman Standing event. 

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South American Hustle

Lima is not really a bike-friendly city. First of all, it’s an absolutely massive place – so the idea of cycling across town becomes daunting straight away. The second reason you don’t really want to ride a bike in Lima is that the traffic is murderous. Whether it’s so jammed up at rush hour that there isn’t even space to thread a pair of handlebars between two cars, or the cabs and cars are flying through junctions without stopping, with only a cursory honk of the horn to let others know they’re coming – it really is a tarmac jungle out there.

It was a total fluke that we stumbled upon a press release for the inaugural Peruvian National Track champs. We decided this campeonato could be bit of fun so, with curiosity piqued, we headed down to the national sports centre that weekend to see what was going on.

 

Champions and hopefuls

Peru as a cycling nation is at a crossroads. At grassroots level it is unorganised and underfunded, but it’s also on the up. For years, what is now the National Velodrome was disused – the only people who rode its concrete banks were members of the city police’s amateur cycling team.

Now though, for the first time ever, Peru has a world champion cyclist and suddenly as a sport it’s been dragged into the public eye. The world champion in question is Israel Hilario, a Paralympian and the current world champ in the C2 category. Hilario was at the championships in person, bedecked in the unmistakeable rainbow bands and schmoozing with the media like he was born to it. He is the public face of an optimistic new dawn in cycling in Peru.

There’s no doubt that Hilario has already arrived at the top of his game, but an almost-equal amount of attention is being paid to a young man called Hugo Ruiz. He has already shown significant promise on the national road racing scene – placing third in this year’s five-stage Tour of Peru. On the track, the kid does the kilo in 1:08.333 – not quite world-beating – but enough for him to become the new National Champion and to be seen as the next great hope for Peruvian cycling on a world stage.

 

Cometh the hour…

As well as a world champion and a hotshot youngster, Peru can now also boast an hour record-holder. While there’s no need for Sir Bradley Wiggins to hop off the couch and start training to reclaim his title just yet, the National Championships did see a certain Victor Gamarra beat another Briton’s mark. The Peruvian – known by those on the bike scene in Lima as ‘Don Victor’ – smashed the previous distance record for someone aged between 80-84 – eclipsing an effort by Sidney Shuman, of the UK, who has held the record since September 2014. Shuman is now too old to compete in this age bracket, so it remains to be seen whether Don Victor can hold onto it a little bit longer.

Lima 3 small

 

Depending where you live in the country, Peru is largely pre-occupied with either football or surfing. Cycling hasn’t historically been able to get a look in. But now it feels like things might be turning around. Peru has a population of more than 30 million people, many of whom live at high altitude. The possibility that there may exist somewhere in the country another Nairo Quintana or Winner Ancona is electrifying.

Lima 1 small

 

An extended version of this article has been published in the March issue of Conquista. Read it online or order a print copy now.


Tom Owen is a cycling writer who travels the world in search of two-wheeled adventures. He’s ridden bikes in Bali, Vietnam, Andorra, Spain, Cambodia, Thailand and the UK. This winter he’s going to South America to explore the cycling culture of Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia and many more places. Tom is going to be writing about his experiences for us, so make sure you check out our blog to keep up to date with his travels.

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ECMC 2016 – European Cycle Messenger Championships

We are glad to announce that Crankk will sponsor the 2016 European Cycle Messenger Championships. The event will be held July 21st – 24th in Copenhagen. We will host one of the checkpoints during the main race and provide our urban cycling apparel to podium winners of the events. See you there!

Copenhagen, the City of Cyclists, is proud to host the 21st annual ECMC. The European Cycle Messenger Championships are born out of the passion and enthusiasm that thousands of bicycle couriers around Europe (and beyond) put into their daily work. Messengers from around the world will converge on Copenhagen for a celebration of the vibrant global courier community and wider urban cycling culture.

A series of races, events, markets and parties will be held across the weekend, culminating in the main race, in which a gruelling combination of speed, stamina and smarts will be required in order to be crowned the European Champion.

More info at:  www.ecmc2016.com

 

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I rode a beat-up old town bike in the Andes (sort of)

I didn’t know what to expect from Mendoza. It was recommended as a ‘must-visit’ to me by an Argentine who said it was an incredibly beautiful part of the world, and I was already aware that it’s the home of Malbec wine – so that was two good reasons to visit right there.

Mendoza pano

In fact, Mendoza has that mountain, resort town kind of vibe – a lot like Aspen and Steamboat Springs in the US, or Andorra la Vella and Chamonix in Europe. The city is really close to the mountains, so during the winter it’s popular for skiing and snowboarders. Once the snows have melted though, it’s time for the locals to stick the skis back in the shed and get out their road or mountain bike.

The cycling ethos here is very much about practical daily use. You see a few hipster single speeds with beefed up tyres around the university areas, but generally people ride mountain bikes everywhere (presumably because the roads aren’t much to write home about). A lot of kids will meet up in the parks and plaza around town and sit on the grass surrounded by their chunky MTBs. At night when the bars fill up the streets are littered with them.

I spent my first few days in Argentina in Buenos Aires, where it was absolutely freezing. Not quite London or Krakow freezing, but still way more chilly than I expected. So it was a relief when I got to Mendoza and the sun came out. See, look how happy I was:

 

Mendoza selfie

After looking into doing a winery tour by bike and finding out it was $150 I decided to stick with the classic formula for a spontaneous bike ride – find a bike, find a hill, see what’s at the top of it, nail the descent back down like Vicenzo Nibali going down the Ventoux. Works every time!

The website of the hostel I stayed at said they rented bikes, but on inspection I never saw a sadder looking collection of clunkers in all my life. In the end I got a pretty crappy red hire bike from a place in the main park of Mendoza. It handled ok and was surprisingly smooth in the tight bends on descents. The chain only fell off three times too, so that was pretty decent.

After a quick spin around the lake in the centre of el Parco I struck out west towards the Andes and a mini-mountain called Cerro de la Gloria. At the top there was a wicked cool statue.

Mendoza statue

Then it was back into town for some post-ride recovery food. In this instance, something I can only really describe as a ‘super-pizza’, with cheese first, then a layer of steak. On a base of fries.

Mendoza food

If you’re coming to Mendoza, definitely get out on the bike at some stage. They have a city bike scheme, much like the ones you get in NYC, Amsterdam and London. Plus there’s a lot of different operators who can give you a tour.


 

Tom Owen is a cycling writer who travels the world in search of two-wheeled adventures. He’s ridden bikes in Bali, Vietnam, Andorra, Spain, Cambodia, Thailand and the UK. This winter he’s going to South America to explore the cycling culture of Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia and many more places. Tom is going to be writing about his experiences for us, so make sure you check out our blog to keep up to date with his travels.

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